Irregular and semi-regular dispatches from our writers.
In this essay I would like to address a certain myth: great art is said to be timeless and universal, transcending the contingent circumstances of its own genesis and speaking to men across the ages. In other words, the fruits of genius are ahistorical.
I passed by Star Wars Cover Girl mascara and Star Wars Duracell batteries. “Power your galaxy,” it ordered. My galaxy is fine, Duracell. On television, Star Wars themes champion Jeeps powering through the wilderness and patrons sinking their teeth into Subway subs.
James Tate died this summer, and sitting in this little spot on the Amtrak reading his poetry reminded me of the way that this kind of raw human life can be injected into poetry. When you read Tate’s books of poetry you feel like you’ve met a million people.